We're all done here!

Good News / Bad News:

This is the last blog post for The Big OH Blog.  Don't worry, though.  Ohio's blog for sexual politics is becoming a Tumblr!  Keep reading up on state legislation, choice, and pregnancy prevention policies in Ohio at  Also, the new Tumblr is published by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, a 501c4 advocacy organization.  This means that the new Tumblr will be able to publish commentary on candidates and the 2012 election!

Thanks for reading!



Ohio House Proposes Dramatic Reduction in Women’s Health Care

Columbus – Today state representatives on the House Health and Aging Committee held the third public hearing on a bill (HB 298) that would eliminate federal funding for pap tests, breast exams, and prenatal care at Planned Parenthood health centers throughout Ohio.

“In these difficult economic times, women should have access to essential health care services such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, prenatal care, and testing and treatment of STDs,” said Beth Lonn, Interim CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio. “Planned Parenthood will not let politics interfere with the health care relied on by nearly 100,000 Ohioans each year. We call on lawmakers to put politics aside and put Ohio women and families first.”

The anticipated substitute bill, which was not presented to the committee, would block federal funding under the Maternal Child Health Block Grant, the Infertility Prevention Program, the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act, and the Violence Against Women Act from Planned Parenthood health centers in Ohio.

The bill could block women’s access to a wide range of preventive health services at Planned Parenthood health centers. For example, the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant helps to fund Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio’s Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program to prevent infant mortality in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties. The program is a neighborhood prenatal outreach program for African American women, providing in-home visits for prenatal care coordination during and after pregnancy. The infant mortality rate for African American babies is almost two and a half times more than the rate for white women.

“Planned Parenthood’s doors are open to every woman in need. At any given time, we are helping up to 90 women deliver healthy babies, but over the course of the program, we have served many more,” said Celeste Ribbins, Vice President of Community Initiatives for Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio. “Some politicians want to cut Planned Parenthood out of the health care network in Ohio, but they can’t. We serve women who trust us and who know that Planned Parenthood will be there for them, no matter what.”



They're not stopping - defunding scheduled for next week

Wednesday morning, the bill to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio will have its third hearing. Politicians are trying to score points by denying women access to annual exams, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, and life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings. By "re-prioritizing" funds for family planning, they are removing access to the health care provider that so many women trust. In fact, one in five women has been to a Planned Parenthood health center at some time in her life.

Send these politicians a clear message: Not Here, Not Now. Sign this petition today and we will deliver the signatures directly to the Ohio House Health Committee.

After you've added your name to the petition, call Speaker of the House Bill Batchelder at (614) 466-8140. He will ultimately decide whether this bill is brought to the House floor for a vote. Tell him why you want to protect women's access to preventive health care from Planned Parenthood.

Finally, if you can come to Statehouse Room 116 on Wednesday, May 16th, please show your support for Planned Parenthood. The hearing room is small, so you will need to arrive by 8:30 a.m. and may have to listen from an adjoining overflow room. Don't forget to wear pink!


Gary Dougherty
State Legislative Director
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio


Planned Parenthood: Is the “Heartbeat Bill” Really Dead?

COLUMBUS – Peppered throughout his letter to his “Fellow Pro-Life Ohioans,” Senate President Tom Niehaus reminds his readers of all the anti-woman bills that the current state legislature has passed, “more than any previous General Assembly in state history.”

It is because of this anti-woman bravado that Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio is suspicious about reports that the “heartbeat bill” is dead.

“Notwithstanding news reports and headlines, Sen. Niehaus’ letter never once declares the ‘heartbeat bill’ to be dead,” said Gary Dougherty, State Legislative Director for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio.  “His plea that anti-choice groups come to a consensus on the bill signals his clear desire to end legal access to all safe abortion care.”

Because Faith2Action and Ohio Right to Life are so heavily invested in their positions for and against the “heartbeat bill,” such a consensus may be unlikely.  However, Dougherty asserts that is the reason for continued vigilance.

“We cannot, and will not, be lulled to sleep by claims that the ‘heartbeat bill’ is dead.  This legislature has become a willing partner in the War on Women and cannot be trusted to preserve access to women’s health care options.  Whether the ‘heartbeat bill’ remains an abortion ban bill or becomes an informed consent bill or a mandatory ultrasound bill, Planned Parenthood will continue to stand up for those women and their families who rely on us to advocate for their access to reproductive health care.”



Ohio House approves budget without defunding amendment

Moments ago, the Ohio House voted to approve the Ohio budget, quietly closing a chapter in the effort to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio. The budget bill did not include an amendment that would have stripped Planned Parenthood's funding for family planning health care, education programs, rape prevention programs, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and infertility treatments. That amendment was added to the bill last week and then removed in committee yesterday. (You can read media articles at the Big OH blog.)

The vote was a quiet end to this chapter thanks to all of you who spoke so loudly. Thousands of you made calls and sent emails making sure it was known that Ohio women and men support Planned Parenthood and the health care it provides for Ohio communities. Today, we clearly see the power of grassroots supporters like you. Thank you.

Of course, this chapter is part of a much larger book - a story of a national movement to attack women's health care. The Ohio Senate still has to vote on the bill, and this amendment could be re-inserted at any time. Also, the defunding amendment borrowed language from a bill that's sole purpose is to defund Planned Parenthood, House Bill 298. This bill still stands in Health Committee and will likely be the subject of the very next chapter.

Again, your work will be needed. You can sign a petition to oppose further defunding efforts here. By the end of the week, the Health Committee calendar will be released. We'll send word if hearings resume for House Bill 298.

Please continue to stand with Planned Parenthood as we help write the book on women's health care.


Gary Dougherty
State Legislative Director
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio


Ohio Budget Defunding Media

Today, the Ohio House is voting to approve House Bill 487, the Mid-Biennium Review. The budget bill did not include an amendment that would have stripped Planned Parenthood's funding for family planning health care, education programs, rape prevention programs, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and infertility treatments.  That amendment was added to the bill last week and then removed in committee yesterday.

The following articles covered the events of the past week. This list will be periodically updated. Please tweet links of additional articles to @PPAOGabriel.
The Fight For Planned Parenthood Continues (with video)
ONN - April 25, 2012 - By Jim Heath

Proposed Planned Parenthood Funding Cut Pulled From Budget Bill (with audio)
WOSU - April 25, 2012 - By Jo Ingles

Planned Parenthood cuts dropped from state budget review 
The Columbus Dispatch - April 25, 2012 - By Jim Siegel

Down with teen births
Akron Beacon Journal - April 24, 2012 - Editorial

Ohio House panel restores Planned Parenthood money
Akron Beacon Journal - April 24, 2012 - Julie Carr Smyth

Proposal to cut Planned Parenthood funds may disappear from review
The Columbus Dispatch - April 24, 2012 - By Jim Siegel

Officials remove proposal that would defund Planned Parenthood
Dayton Daily News - April 24, 2012 - By Jackie Borchardt

Planned Parenthood Targeted as Ohio Considers Grant Restrictions
BloombergBusinessWeek - April 24, 2012 - By Mark Niquette

Move to defund Planned Parenthood stopped by Ohio lawmakers, but issue could re-emerge
Plain Dealer - April 24, 2012 - By Kelly Gifford

With the House set to vote, take action to defend women’s health
Plunderbund - April 23, 2012

If drive to end Planned Parenthood’s public funding succeeds, it’s unclear who will step in
The Columbus Dispatch - April 22, 2012 - By Catherine Candisky and Justin Conley

Protect women's health
Toledo Blade - April 20, 2012 - Editorial

Ohio GOP Takes Aim At Planned Parenthood (with video)
Columbus On The Record - April 20, 2012 - Host Mike Thompson

Legislators hear plenty of talk, few real answers
The Columbus Dispatch - April 20, 2012 - By Jim Siegel and Justin Conley

First, get to know Planned Parenthood
The Columbus Dispatch - April 20, 2012 - Letter to the Editor

Planned Parenthood In Ohio, Wisconsin Loses Battles
Huffington Post - April 20, 2012 - By Laura Bassett

Democrats Attack “Ridiculous” Planned Parenthood Effort (with audio)
WOSU - April 19, 2012 - By Jo Ingles

Groups criticize House GOP’s ‘radical’ family-planning proposal
The Columbus Dispatch - April 19, 2012 - By Jim Siegel

Ohio GOP acts to cut Planned Parenthood funding level
Toledo Blade - April 19, 2012 - By Jim Provance

Ohio Republicans Move to Cut Funds to Planned Parenthood, Riling Democrats
The Daily Beast - April 19, 2012 - by Abigail Pesta

Factor of ideology
Akron Beacon Journal - April 18, 2012 - Editorial

Planned Parenthood funding in jeopardy
The Columbus Dispatch - April 18, 2012 - By Jim Siegel

Ohio GOP targets Planned Parenthood funding
Dayton Daily News - April 18, 2012 - Laura Bischoff

Anti-Planned Parenthood budget bill could cost Ohio $9.8 Million in federal funds
Plunderbund - April 18, 2012

Dems blast effort to cut Planned Parenthood money
AP - April 18, 2012 - By Barbara Rodriguez

Ohio House Republicans move to cut funding to Planned Parenthood
The Columbus Dispatch - April 17, 2012 - By Jim Siegel

Ohio House Republicans move to defund Planned Parenthood
Plain Dealer - April 17, 2012 - By Aaron Marshall

Ohio bill would block domestic violence, cancer screening, HIV/AIDS funding for Planned Parenthood
Plunderbund - April 17, 2012

House Republicans move to de-fund Planned Parenthood in Ohio
Plunderbund - April 17, 2012

Ohio Republicans Attempting To Defund Planned Parenthood, Give Money To Groups That Don't Provide Birth Control
RHRealityCheck - April 17, 2012 - By Robin Marty


BREAKING NEWS: Defunding Update

Moments ago, we received assurances that language that would strip funding from Planned Parenthood for family planning health care services, rape prevention programs, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and infertility treatment programs will be removed from the state budget bill, House Bill 487.  This change is expected to be voted on during today's Ohio House Finance Committee hearing at 1:30PM.

We will remain vigilant to ensure that once this language is taken out, it stays out.

Thank you for your work.  Stay tuned for further updates.


Thanks and Spanks - March Edition

Thanks to Senator Nina Turner for
firing up the crowd at Lobby Day

This year's Freedom of Choice Ohio Lobby Day was kicked-off by Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) who delivered one of the most rousing speeches we’ve heard in quite some time. It was impossible not to feel inspired by her words – we just have to share! She said:

"What does it take to stand strong? My sister, it's three bones: the wishbone, the jawbone, and the backbone. You see, the wishbone will keep us hoping and praying because hope is the motivator but the dream is the drive. The jawbone will give us what it takes to speak truth to power, and not sit idly by and let vicious, vile things happen in the United States of America. But the most important bone of them all is the backbone. Because it will keep us standing through trials, and tribulations, and haters. Ladies, we must stay strong and answer to the clarion call of our consciousness about what kind of America we want to live in."

Spanks to the legislators who are
working to defund Planned Parenthood

Last spring, Congress nearly shut down the federal government over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Nationally, thousands of women stood up in support of Planned Parenthood and we won that battle. The fight has come to Ohio now. An extreme group of legislators has come together to shut down Planned Parenthood in Ohio. We want to introduce you to these out-of-touch legislators.

Senator Kris Jordan (R-Powell), and Representatives Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) have introduced House Bill 298 and Senate Bill 201. They have one goal in mind: defund Planned Parenthood, and they are not so shy about it either. They have called for defunding entities that perform abortion, and identified Planned Parenthood as their intended target. Let’s be clear: the funds they are seeking to strip from Planned Parenthood pay for vital, life-saving services including well-woman exams, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and birth control. If these bills pass, thousands of Planned Parenthood patients may face new fees and longer wait times for family planning services from someone other than their trusted and preferred health care provider.

Representative Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) is also no friend of Planned Parenthood. He uses his role as Chair of the Ohio House Committee on Health and Aging as a bully pulpit to push anti-women bills into law and harass witnesses and legislators who disagree with his ancient views on women, sex, and reproductive freedom. Already, he has shepherded three new anti-choice laws through his committee and is supporting the effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

What these opponents of Planned Parenthood don't realize is that there is no public support for their actions. Last month, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing 60% of voters oppose efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. When told that the federal funding is being used only for non-abortion health issues such as breast cancer screening, opposition to defunding Planned Parenthood rises to 77%.

Let's send this gang of four a clear message: their attacks on women are not welcome in Ohio. Sign this petition against the effort to defund Planned Parenthood. This will let them know that you do not support the way they treat women and women's health care.


Sen. Nina Turner's Lobby Day speech

Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) got our lobby day attendees fired up to storm the Statehouse! Check out the following video excerpts:


Lobby Day was a huge success!

Yesterday, over 200 Ohioans stormed the Statehouse as a part of the 2012 Freedom of Choice Lobby Day. We came with a simple, but clear message: STOP THE HEARTBEAT BILL.

Our day began with a rousing welcome by Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) who reviewed the litany of legislation introduced this session that seeks to strip women of reproductive choice and access to health care. The heartbeat bill is just one of those bills, but it is the most egregious and a direct attempt to bring a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Participants then headed over to the Statehouse to meet with their senators. Those who could not make the trip to Columbus participated in Lobby Day from their homes and offices. You can still join them by clicking this link and completing the simple web form.

The day concluded with a rally on the steps of the Statehouse where we heard from women and legislators about the dangers of this bill. Abortion rights activist Taba Aleem told her story of what her experience with abortion was like in 1963 - before Roe v. Wade. Her horrifying tale of suffering rape at the hands of her "doctor" - who then made her boil her own coat hanger for sterilization - was a chilling tale of why we should never go back. Nancy Pitts, of Women Have Options, and Molly Hendrix, a senior at The Ohio State University, each spoke about why they want to protect reproductive rights for women who lead healthy lives.

We were also pleased to welcome Senator Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard) and Representative Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), sponsors of the Ohio Prevention First Act. Both women know that prevention is the best way to reduce the number of abortions because abortion bans don’t stop abortions, they just make them dangerous. We also heard from Representatives Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), Tracy Heard (D-Columbus), and Ted Celeste (D-Grandview Heights); each adding their reasons why the heartbeat bill is just heartless.

Many thanks to everyone who joined us in Columbus and those who emailed or called their senator.  You are the voice of this movement.

If you were not able to participate yesterday, there’s no better time than now. Please complete the simple web form to email your senator.


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